Page images

Such entertainment base, ne ought would eat,
Ne ought would speake, but evermore did seeme
As discontent for want of merth or meat;

No solace could her paramour intreat 2

Her once to show, ne court,3 nor dalliaunce;

Bnt with bent lowring browes, as she would threat, She scould, and frownd with froward countenaunce; Unworthy of faire Ladies comely governaunce.


But young Perissa was of other mynd,
Full of disport, still laughing, loosely light,
And quite contrary to her Sisters kynd 4;
No measure in her mood, no rule of right,
But poured out in pleasure and delight:

In wine and meats she flowd above the banck,
And in excesse exceeded her owne might;
In sumptuous tire 5 she ioyd her selfe to pranck,6
But of her love too lavish: litle have she thanck!


Fast by her side did sitt the bold Sansloy,
Fitt mate for such a mincing mineon,7
Who in her loosenesse tooke exceeding ioy;

Might not be found a francker franion,
Of her leawd parts to make companion.

1 Discontent, discontented.

2 Intreat, prevail upon.

3 Court, courteous deportment.

4 Kynd, nature.

5 Tire, dress.

6 Pranck, adorn.

7 Mincing mineon, affected wanton.

8 Francker, more open or unblush


9 Franion, gay companion.

deficiency of good manners and common courtesy, and will neither eat nor speak.

XXXVI. 1.- Perissa.] Perissa, the younger sister, is in the other extreme from Elissa She is excessive in every thing—eating, drinking, dressing, and talking too much.

But Huddibras, more like a malecontent,
Did see and grieve at his bold fashion;
Hardly could he endure his hardiment 1;
Yett still he satt, and inly did himselfe torment.

Betwixt them both the faire Medina sate
With sober grace and goodly carriage:
With equall measure she did moderate
The strong extremities of their outrage;
That forward paire she ever would asswage,
When they would strive dew reason to exceed;
But that same froward twaine would accorage,3
And of her plenty adde unto their need:
So kept she them in order, and herselfe in heed.


Thus fairely shee attempered her feast,
And pleasd them all with meete satiety:

At last, when lust of meat and drinke was ceast,
She Guyon deare besought of curtesie

To tell from whence he came through ieopardy,
And whether now on new adventure bownd:

Who with bold grace, and comely gravity,
Drawing to him the eies of all arownd,
From lofty siege 4 began these words aloud to sownd.


"This thy demaund, O Lady, doth revive

1 Hardiment, bold deportment.
3 Accorage, encourage.

2 Assuage, check.
4 Siege, seat.

XXXVII. 6.- malecontent.] A" malecontent" was a designation frequently applied in Spenser's time to the sour and austere censurers of the follies and vanities of the world.

XXXVIII. 5. — Forward paire.] Sansloy and Perissa.

XXXVIII. 7.- Froward twaine.] Sir Huddibras and Elissa.


Fresh memory in me of that great Queene,
Great and most glorious Virgin Queene alive,
That with her soveraine power, and scepter shene,11
All Faery lond does peaceably sustene.

In widest ocean she her throne does reare,

That over all the earth it may be seene;

As morning sunne her beames dispredden cleare; And in her face faire peace and mercy doth appeare.


"In her the richesse of all heavenly grace
In chiefe degree are heaped up on hye:
And all, that els this worlds enclosure bace
Hath great or glorious in mortall eye,
Adornes the person of her Maiestye;
That men, beholding so great excellence
And rare perfection in mortalitye,

Doe her adore with sacred reverence,

As th' Idole of her Makers great magnificence.


"To her I homage and my service owe,
In number of the noblest Knightes on ground,
Mongst whom on me she deigned to bestowe
Order of Maydenhead, the most renownd,
That may this day in all the world be found.
An yearely solemne feast she wontes to make,
The day that first doth lead the yeare around,
To which all Knights of worth and courage bold
Resort, to heare of straunge adventures to be told.

1 Shene, bright.

2 Idole, image.

XLII. 6. To make.] So in all the editions. The rhyme requires the substitution of a word so readily suggesting itself, hold, that it seems hardly possible that Spenser did not use it.


"There this old Palmer shewd himselfe that day, And to that mighty Princesse did complaine Of grievous mischiefes, which a wicked Fay Had wrought, and many whelmd in deadly paine, Whereof he crav'd redresse. My Soveraine, Whose glory is in gracious deeds, and ioyes Throughout the world her mercy to maintaine, Eftsoones devisd redresse for such annoyes: Me, all unfitt for so great purpose, she employes.


"Now hath faire Phebe with her silver face Thrise seene the shadowes of the neather world, Sith 2 last I left that honorable place,

In which her roiall presence is entrold 3;

Ne ever shall I rest in house nor hold,
Till I that false Acrasia have wonne;

Of whose fowle deedes, too hideous to bee told, I witnesse am, and this their wretched sonne Whose wofull parents she hath wickedly fordonne.4"


"Tell on, fayre Sir," said she, "that dolefull tale, From which sad ruth 5 does seeme you to restraine, That we may pitty such unhappie bale,6

And learne from Pleasures poyson to abstaine:
Ill, by ensample, good doth often gayne."
Then forward he his purpose gan pursew,
And told the story of the mortall payne,
Which Mordant and Amavia did rew;
As, with lamenting eyes, himselfe did lately vew.

Eftsoones, immediately.

2 Sith, since.

Entrold, encircled.

4 Fordonne, ruined.

6 Ruth, pity.

Bale, sorrow.


Night was far spent; and now in ocean deep
Orion, flying fast from hissing Snake,
His flaming head did hasten for to steep,
When of his pitteous tale he end did make:
Whilst with delight of that he wisely spake
Those guestes beguyled did beguyle their eyes
Of kindly sleepe, that did them overtake.

At last, when they had markt the chaunged skyes,
They wist their houre was spent; then each to rest him


XLVI. 2.- Orion, &c.] that of the Scorpion arises."

"The constellation of Orion sets when CHURCH.

XLVI. 2.- From hissing Snake.] The constellation of the Scorpion.

* Spenser, in his letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, states that a palmer appeared at the court of the Faerie Queene, bearing a babe with bloody hands, whose parents had fallen victims to Acrasia, and that the adventure of subduing her was consequently assigned to Sir Guyon; but from Sir Guyon's own account, it seems that the palmer came alone to the court of the Faerie Queene, and complained of Acrasia, and that he fell in with the babe and its parents after he had set forth upon the adventure.

« PreviousContinue »